My mom, Trenna, and my dad, Damian, had a lot in common. They were both born into poor families, and after being taught the value of hard work, saved enough to put themselves through Notre Dame High School, a private Catholic school in Riverside, California. They became high school sweethearts and worked even harder to put themselves through college and then graduate school, each becoming the first in their families to graduate. They married in 1979. As Dad liked to say, “In ’79, I made her mine.”
I was born in 1982, and the family was complete when my sister, Tawnya, came along in 1987. Our family was small but very close. Not only did we love each other, we all genuinely liked one another. In our house, there was laughter all the time. Dad was hilarious—he would make jokes or use silly voices, wiggle his eyebrows and make funny faces. He was always happy to spend time with us, whether it was helping us with our homework, teaching us how to ride our bikes, coaching our soccer teams, or later, just going for long walks. He always said he loved spending time with “my girls.”
When we were younger, we’d take big road trips to visit family in other states. As we got older, our appetite for adventure increased, so my dad, Tawnya, and I traveled the world. During our trips, we’d talk about religion, politics, current events, books, and movies. All of us felt free to challenge one another when we disagreed, pressing each other to consider different viewpoints. These special times truly put in action our family motto, “amplecti possibilitate,” which, roughly translated, means “embrace the possibility.”
My parents always went out of their way to help others. This meant volunteering at local schools and the Special Olympics, mowing a neighbor’s lawn, helping to paint a friend’s or family member’s house—and choosing careers in which they could be of service to others. My mom was an educator, and my dad worked for Riverside County’s Environmental Health Department. He was passionate about what he did, though he ended up retiring to take care of his ailing mother, until she passed away. Dad would later re-enter the workforce as a teacher, at the same school where my sister worked. He liked dressing up as Abraham Lincoln at Halloween and Santa Claus at Christmas. He painted murals at the school, and in the last one he did, he drew fish that all the kids could paint and personalize with their names. Though he loved this period, in September 2015, he decided to return to environmental health, this time accepting a position with San Bernardino County.
On December 2, 2015, my dad was standing by the Christmas tree at work when a coworker and his wife, who had pledged allegiance to the terrorist group ISIS, burst through the doors, spraying bullets from semiautomatic rifles. My dad was killed, along with 13 of his coworkers. In those mere seconds, my life was irrevocably changed. Our perfect father, and my mother’s loving husband of 36 years, was gone.
What made this horrific situation even more difficult to grasp was that, the Saturday before the shooting, my dad, mom, and I had one of our discussions: We talked about the unconscionable high rates of gun violence in our country, about workplace violence, mass shootings, and even terrorism. It was surreal that one single event combined all three and took my father’s life.
After the first couple of weeks, I was mostly numb. My brain still worked—I could recount facts—but my emotions completely shut down. Over time, some of the numbness has worn off, and instead of getting easier, things are getting harder. I’m still in disbelief much of the time, and I think about my dad every single day. I lost my father, my best friend, in a horrific and brutal way that seems to defy all reason.
He deserved so much better. For now, every memory, no matter how wonderful, makes me sad, because I still cannot understand why our time was cut so short. I am also angry that it was so easy for terrorists to get their hands on weapons. I am confused by those who choose to focus on the fact that it was an act of terrorism, while ignoring the means by which they carried out the act.
On an average day, 91 people are killed by gun violence in America. People on our terror watch list are prohibited from boarding airplanes, yet they still can purchase firearms. I can’t wrap my mind around why we find any of this acceptable. I don’t know how best to combat homegrown and lone-wolf terrorists before they strike. But I do know that we need to make it harder for people with evil intentions to carry out evil acts. The voices of reason and moderation, the ones calling for peace and sensible action, must be heard.
When my dad decided to accept the position at San Bernardino County Environmental Health, he let all the children at his school know he would be leaving. The kids made him pictures and goodbye cards. More than one child wrote to my dad that he was their “best friend,” and that he was going to be missed. They adored him, just as I did. I hope that by sharing his story, I may save others the heartbreak I will always bear.
Gun Safety is a series about gun violence in America, with a new essay appearing each day until National Gun Violence Awareness Day, on June 2. To learn more about what you can do to prevent gun violence, and to participate in the Wear Orange campaign, go to WearOrange.org.
Gun Control in America Essay
828 Words4 Pages
Guns Control Living a life in America, we all get to have all the rights that included in the Constitution. One of those was the Second Amendment which is the rights to bear arm, the purpose was to protect ourselves from danger but nowadays a lot of people have take advantage of it and use it in the wrong way. I believe our government need to have a strict limit on guns possession. Gun control had been a phenomenal issue in our country. In December 15, 1791 the second amendment established in the top ten amendments in the Constitution by James Madison. The amendment stated that people have a rights to bear arm to protect themself, their loved ones and their property. To legally get a gun you have to be 21 years old and over, without…show more content…
Guns Control Living a life in America, we all get to have all the rights that included in the Constitution. One of those was the Second Amendment which is the rights to bear arm, the purpose was to protect ourselves from danger but nowadays a lot of people have take advantage of it and use it in the wrong way. I believe our government need to have a strict limit on guns possession. Gun control had been a phenomenal issue in our country. In December 15, 1791 the second amendment established in the top ten amendments in the Constitution by James Madison. The amendment stated that people have a rights to bear arm to protect themself, their loved ones and their property. To legally get a gun you have to be 21 years old and over, without any criminal history nor committed in any mental institution then you need to apply for it and got a handgun safety test. After the whole process you can purchase a firearm easily. The whole purpose of the amendment was for self-defense but now people been taking advantage of it and use it for violence. Throughout the years there was so many times people use it to killed and harmed other instead of protecting. They used firearm for the wrong purpose and it affected a lot of other people. I believe our government need to have strict laws and more requirements to be able to own a firearm. It’s true that our current laws prevent certain people from getting a firearm but it did not complete stopping them from having an access to a firearm and